Flying Without a License A.K.A. My Costco Card Saves the Day

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That time I found myself flying without a license…

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to try to catch a flight home at 8:00 AM when you’re hungover and realize you lost your license (and only acceptable photo ID) the night before? 

Well apparently I was curious about this particular situation because that’s exactly the pickle I found myself in on a Sunday morning in June.

To backtrack a bit, my husband and I had flown to Boston for a friend’s wedding on a Friday. We were very excited for a kid-free weekend in a hotel with lots of my childhood friends from New Jersey.

The drinking started early and often on the day of the wedding (Saturday).

A Bloody Mary at brunch, champagne while we got our hair done, wine for a pre-ceremony cocktail…it all added up to me making the terrible decision to slip my license and a credit card into the clutch I brought to the wedding.

I guess I thought I might get carded at the wedding? (If I could, I would insert three crying-laughing emojis.) (P.S. I’m 36.)

The wedding was amazing– intimate and chic, held at a lovely Boston bar/restaurant called Trade. I knew we had an early Sunday morning flight, so we left at 10:00 P.M. and walked back to the hotel.

On the way home, my ID and my credit card fell out…at almost exactly the halfway point between my hotel and the wedding. (More on how I found that out later.)

So we get back to the hotel, I contemplate ordering room service, and my husband talks me out of it. I was all set to order a pizza and calamari…mmm just what your stomach wants at 11:00 PM when you’re hammered.

We wake up in the morning and get ready to leave the hotel at 6:30 AM. That’s when I discover my little evening clutch sitting on the dresser. It’s opened and empty, except for a tube of lip gloss. 

Hmmm. Shouldn’t my ID and credit card be in there? 

I start frantically looking around the hotel room, in my other purse, in my pockets, and any possible place I can think of. At this point it is 6:15 A.M. 

Once I realize that it is indeed nowhere to be found, I start freaking out. 


He looks through my wallet and sees I have a few things that may be of value– my insurance card, a few credit cards, and my Costco card.

“It’s fine,” he says. “You have your Costco card. It has your picture on it. They will let you on the plane.”

“Oh my God, are you nuts?? No they won’t!” I said.

My plan at this moment was to bail on the flight and rent a car to drive to New Jersey, rather than even try to get on the plane.

“We’re going to the airport,” my husband insisted. 

By the time we were waiting in line at security, I was flustered and sweating.

It was like that feeling I always get when I go into a store and don’t buy anything. Like I need to convince the store employees that I am not stealing anything when I walk out without making a purchase. Does anyone else get like that?

I felt like I was doing something wrong by not having my license, when really, it was an accident, I swear! 

So why did I feel like I was a security risk or like I had something to feel guilty for? I put on my best “I am not a security risk or a terrorist” face as my husband explained to the security checkpoint officer that I did not have my license.

“But she has her Costco card!” he offered.

The security officer treated me like a criminal. He gave me the third degree on where I was going, why I lost my license, etc. 

It was super fun. 

Then we had to wait for a second officer to come over and escort us to a special area where they would inspect every single item in my luggage. 

I’m talking toiletries, dirty underwear, shoes, jewelry…every single thing got picked out of my suitcase and examined.

Also fun.

Next up I got the full pat-down search. Luckily they had a female officer come over to do it.

After about 45 minutes of this, I (obviously) passed all of the security measures and was allowed on the plane. 

I breathed a sigh of relief and sat in my window seat. I looked on my phone and saw I had a Facebook message request.

It was from a stranger.

“Hi, I found your license and credit card on the street. I’m at a bar called Howl at the Moon if you want to come get it.”


The moral of the story?

Well, there are a few:

  1. Always check your Facebook messages. There just might be one from a stranger who has your lost license.
  2. Just when you think your Costco card couldn’t get more valuable to you, it does. I HEART COSTCO!

And possibly the most important one– try not to get so drunk that you make stupid decisions like taking your only valid ID out in a flimsy clutch the night before you need it to board an airplane.

(Just a thought.)

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